Chicken Dak Bungalow - Modern twist to a historical dish

During my various meals at some of the exotic Bengali eateries as well as during conversations revolving around food, I used to often come across the mention of Chicken Dak Bungalow. Dak Bungalow, dak-house or dâk-bungalow was a government building in British India under Company Rule and the Raj. This dish has its origin in the way the chicken used to be cooked for the Sahibs with the limited resources and ingredients. The recipe I use is definitely not as simple as made in those bungalows :). I have made some changes and adaptations in the method and also added some processes learnt elsewhere. Readers may try this and let me know any feedback that you may have. Credit also goes to Poulami's food blog

Ingredients (serves 4-5 adults):

  • Chicken : 800 gms - 1 kg (cut into medium size pieces)
  • Potatoes: 4 / 5  medium size (a bit smaller size. I prefer using them whole)
  • Egg: 4-5 (one for each)
  • Onion: 2 large, sliced.
  • Ginger: 2 inches chopped
  • Garlic: 12 cloves chopped (coarse).
  • Tomatoes: 2 large (puree)
  • Green chili: 4 to 5.
  • 1 teaspoon each of Turmeric powder, Red chili powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Garam Masala Powder
  • Bay leaf 1, Small Cardamom 1, Dry red chili 1, Green cardamom 2, Clove 2, Black cardamom 1.
  • 2 tbsp curd - whisked
  • Mustard oil for cooking.
  • Salt and sugar as per taste.


  • Wash and clean the chicken pieces, now marinate the chicken pieces with all the spices powder, some salt and one table spoon mustard oil for ½ an hour.
  • Tomato Puree: Grill the tomatoes on fire or in the grill (microwave). Once cooled, chop into large pieces and blend it.
  • Microwave the potatoes in water with bit of salt added (about 3 mins on high). Immediately drain the water and wash it in cold water. I do this to drain the starch (to counter my expanding girth). Smear salt and turmeric. Keep it aside. 
  • Boil the eggs (hard boiled). After cooling off, peel, give it a light slit, smear salt and turmeric.
  • Now add some oil in a vessel and shallow fry the boiled eggs and the potatoes separately. After frying keep it aside.
  • In the same vessel add some oil and heat it up. Add 75% of the sliced onion, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, green chilies and fry for some time till the onions turns translucent and starts light browning. Turn off and put it in a blender. Allow it to cool, add a bit of water and blend it into a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
  • Add some oil in the vessel, add a tsp of sugar and allow it to caramelise. Add bay leaf and follow it up with rest of the whole condiments. As the condiments fries up, add rest of the sliced onion and fry till it becomes transparent.
  • Now add the marinated chicken pieces and cook for some time.
  • Now add the fried onion ginger garlic and green chili paste and mix well with the chicken pieces. Follow it up with the tomato puree and mix well. Add some salt (as per taste). Mix it well. After few minutes, add the potates and allow it to cook with the pan covered.
  • As the oil starts appearing at the edges, add the eggs and toss it. Allow few minutes to cook. reduce the flame to minimum and add the whisked curd.
  • Now add some hot water and cook it till you get the right consistency of the gravy.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

This goes well with plain rice and some nice simple cucumber onion salad (dressed with lime and green chilies).


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